Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page.
By Deb Fenwick
It’s new and improved! Try it! Don’t miss this opportunity. Buy now. No, not goodbye now. But look at this good buy, now! Amazon Prime straight to your door in 24 hours, guaranteed. And, if all goes well, gig workers will deliver your Starbucks just as your DoorDash lunch is arriving. Thank goodness for the bits and bytes that zoom unseen through your Wi-Fi and into a fiber-optic network that traverses the globe. It’s fast. And you are the master of your point-and-click world.
Plants have a dynamic unseen life beneath the soil. In late autumn, perennials slowly go into a state of dormancy in response to cold weather and shorter daylight hours. Gradually, leaves and stalks disappear. Life continues underground, and roots go into a potent winter slumber. In spring, in response to warming soil and sunlight, new growth begins to emerge. The energy stored in buried roots and bulbs converts into sprouts and shoots. Fields of tulips and daffodils bloom in predictable cycles every year.
Here’s the big box store where year-over-year profit growth is nearly guaranteed. Everything we never knew we need is fluorescently lit in a mammoth, temperature-controlled warehouse. Save time. Save money. Save your life and buy toilet paper now. Lots of it. Here’s a 24 pack of 60-watt light bulbs. Need 1,000 ballpoint pens? How about a five-pack of toothpaste? They’ve got a dozen pallets of each. It’s an effective business model. Thousands of pallets of plastic are routed through a network of facilities and loaded on and off trucks. By offering only one format for purchase, high volume consumption is guaranteed!
Under the soil, there’s a microscopic fungal network of plant communication at work. The mycelium is an ecosystem of thin threads connecting one plant to another in what’s been dubbed the “wood-wide web.” Suzanne Simard, a professor of forest ecology in British Columbia, has researched fungal links between trees and found that older trees share resources like carbon, water, and nutrients with younger trees that are struggling to grow on the dark forest floor. Plant hormones that serve as chemical alarm signals and defenses are also passed along the network when there’s danger from toxins and insects.
Danger! Wear your N95 mask and stand six feet apart as you wait in line to get your laptop repaired at the Apple store. Not those kinds of apples. You know, Macs? The genius bar? No. Not that kind of bar. The bar where you hand over your credit card and a 25-year-old digital native examines your hard drive. They show you how to use the functions on your computer or iPhone. Things that you never knew you couldn’t live without. Mysterious, invisible tools that make your life easier—so you can live faster and smarter.
In addition to the forest, mycorrhizal networks exist in prairies, grasslands, and even in stretches of the Arctic. A New York Times article from January 2021 suggests that the fungal network exists anywhere we find life on land. There’s a complex system of partnership, communication, responsiveness, and reciprocity living under your feet, right now.
Now! Click here. There’s a special offer. Use this coupon code. For subscribers only. Interested in meditation? Track your exercise and your daily step count! Keep track of your daily calories on a fitness tracker. Did you know there’s an app for that? Check your phone.
Or, you could just take a deep inhale and decide to go for a stroll outdoors. Maybe even leave your phone at home and marvel at everything you can’t see. It’s free!
Deb Fenwick is a Chicago-born writer who currently lives in Oak Park, Illinois. After spending nearly thirty years working as an arts educator, school program specialist, youth advocate, and public school administrator, she now finds herself with ample time to read books by her heroes and write every story that was patiently waiting to be told. When she’s not traveling with her heartthrob of a husband or dreaming up wildly impractical adventures with her intrepid, college-age daughter, you’ll find her out in the garden getting muddy with two little pups.